Use of Cluster Munitions
I. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
II. TICKING TIME BOMBS
Use of Cluster Bombs in Yugoslavia
High Dud Rate
Human Rights Watch's Concerns
III. WHAT ARE CLUSTER
Widespread Cluster Bomb Use in the Gulf War
Dangers to the Civilian Population
APPENDIX A: DESCRIPTIONS
OF CLUSTER BOMB TYPES
CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
Human Rights Watch condemns the use of cluster bombs by NATO in its bombing campaignCOperation Allied ForceCagainst the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Because of the high Adud,@ or failure, rate of the submunitions contained inside cluster bombs, these submunitions in effect become antipersonnel landmines, unable to distinguish between combatants and innocent civilians and ready to detonate on contact.
Both U.S. and British forces have acknowledged using cluster bombs in the bombing campaign, which began on March 24, 1999. The use of these weapons reportedly already has led to civilian casualties, including children. Because of the cluster bomb submunitions= appearanceCthe CBU-87 and RBL755 bomblets are bright orange/yellow soda-can sized objects, while the ATACMS bomblets are bright baseball-sized spheresCchildren are particularly drawn to the volatile live remnants. In the short term, live submunitions impede civilian and refugee movement; in the long term, they inhibit agriculture and economic recovery. As the 1991 Gulf war experience indicates, the widespread use of cluster bombs can also pose a severe hazard to friendly ground force operations, including peacekeeping forces.
Cluster bombs have an estimated 5 percent mechanical and fuse failure rate. For Operation Allied Force, the historical record and testing experience would tend to indicate that for every single CBU-87 used, there will be an average of some ten unexploded bomblets, and for every RBL755, there will be an average of five unexploded bomblets. Cluster bomb submunitions, like antipersonnel landmines, therefore have the unique potential to injure and kill civilians both during and after a conflictCcluster bombs despite, and antipersonnel landmines because of their design.
It is possible that, if the bombing campaign continues, the U.S. Air Force may start using the CBU-89 Gator Ascatterable@ mine system, which holds a mix of antitank and antipersonnel landmines. The use of antipersonnel landmines, an inherently indiscriminate weapon, is banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which came into force in March 1999. The United States has not signed the treaty, but all other NATO members except Turkey have.
Human Rights Watch calls on NATO to:
_ Stop the use of cluster bombs.
_ Refrain from using the CBU-89 Gator mine system.
This Web page was created using a BETA Version of HTML Transit 4.0.